Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jelly Roll Tote Bag- Love those precuts!

I have been digging through my PTBF (Projects to be Finished) basket in the hopes of finishing up some "left undone" projects.  So far, I finished Placemats for my daughter; A Feed Sack Towel Pillow; and finished Binding a Quilt.

Today I found a pattern that I received at a quilt club last year.  The pattern uses precut 2 1/2" strips.
As you can see, the sample was made using Kaffe Fassett fabric.

The pattern is free and available HERE at the Make it Coats website. I made a few changes to the pattern so I will fill you in as we go along. Under supplies, the pattern lists all of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics used in the sample.  If you are not using those fabrics, you will need 12- 2 1/2"x WOF strips.  The 1/3 yard called for is for the handles (I used 6-  2 1/2"strips) and the 5/8 yard piece is for the lining(I used fat quarters).   I loved the look of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics used in the sample but I wanted to use something from my stash.  Imagine how delighted I was to find a jelly roll of tropical brights.

  I'm not sure when I bought this but I am glad that I found it.  I won't have to cut strips from yardage that I have and I won't have to make a trip to the fabric store on a 12 degree day!  That's what I call a win win!

I started by laying out the strips in a design that I liked.

The pattern suggests cutting each of your strips down to 36 1/2" and then sewing them together.  I sewed mine together as they were (width of fabric).  I then cut it to size: 21"x 36 1/2".  While we are on the subject of fusible fleece, the pattern calls for 1 1/4 yds. but I only used 1 yd. and I used fleece in my handles instead of the interfacing that is recommended.  Another note:  When sewing strips together, be sure to alternate the direction in which you sew.  If you sew them all in the same direction, the piece will begin to arc...don't ask me why because I do not know. 

The pattern tells you to quilt as desired.  I quilted in straight lines along each side of the long seams.

I followed the pattern as written until it came to making the tab and lining.  I knew that I wanted to used a thick layered button on my bag so I chose to add an elastic loop (I used an elastic hair tie)
instead of a tab with a buttonhole.  Here's a close up...

I didn't have yardage of this fabric so I sewed three leftover 2 1/2" strips together to make each of the straps.  When I sewed these, the resulting width was 6 1/2" so I had to trim them to 6".  I also didn't want my straps too long so I cut the length to 32".

The pattern calls for interfacing in the straps but I wanted mine to be "beefy" so I applied fusible fleece  (6"x 32") to the wrong sides of the straps before I folded as instructed in the pattern.  One more note:  the pattern uses the word "interfacing" but I think it should read fusible fleece. I quilted the straps with multiple rows of stitching to improve the strength.  This is a large bag so I didn't want wimpy straps!

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't have yardage of this fabric but I did have some fat quarters so I decided to piece the lining.  I think it turned out quite cute...

Assembly was easy for this bag.  I left an opening in the bottom for turning.  If you are using a single piece of fabric, you could leave an opening in the side seam for turning.  I am happy with how this bag turned out and I am especially happy to have another project moved from the unfinished pile!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Valentine Onesies- So Sweet!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner...a perfect time to make something for my sweet twin grandchildren's first February 14th.  My daughter-in-law saw something similar to these and wondered if we could make them.  Can you guess what my answer was?

I decided to use my Silhouette Cameo to cut the letters and shapes.  Cutting fabric designs with the Cameo is a piece of cake!  You do need to interface your fabric with a paper backed fusible web before you begin cutting.  Silhouette sells their own fusible interfacing which works quite well but for this project, I decided to use Whisper Web Plus from Innovative Crafts.  This is an ultra sheer fusible web that is very soft- - perfect for babies!

After choosing my fabrics, I fused the web to the wrong sides.  I also drew the letters using the Silhouette Sketch Pens so I could check the size.

From the Silhouette Design Store, I chose the SimplyPut font for the lettering.  The heart came from Hearts Set #21188 and the beetle came from Ladybug #9162.

After cutting the first set of letters, I decided that they should be a bit larger so...back to the computer to resize.  The size that I finally settled on each of the words was 1.8"x 5.4".  The beetle size was 
3.1"x 4" and the heart was 2.9"x 3.9".

After cutting, I carefully removed the paper backing, positioned the designs and fused with the iron on wool setting and a damp press cloth.

The Whisper Web packaging says that the fuse is permanent and can be laundered but I decided to stitch around the cutouts with a tiny zigzag stitch.  I had the feeling that two wiggling, wrestling, crawling 9 month olds might just peel off those designs.

Stitching around the letters took some time- no speed stitching here...but I think the results were worth the time spent.

If you don't have a Silhouette machine, you could still do this project.  After fusing the web to the fabric, simply draw your letters and shapes in reverse on the paper backing.  (Stencils would work well for the letters.)  You could then cut them out with a small pair of scissors. 

Wouldn't your little love bugs look adorable in these?


Monday, January 18, 2016

Binding- It's not as bad as you think!

I love to make quilts. Choosing the fabrics, the challenge of piecing, watching the design take's all good. It's all good until the dreaded (eeekkk!) binding.  I have tried so many methods and tools and specialty rulers and my bindings were still...just average.  Recently I came across a technique that has really helped to improve my bindings.  If you've read my last few posts, you know that I am on a quest to finish up some projects that have been hanging around for some time.  This little quilt is one of those projects.  As you can see, it is all done....except the binding.

So let's start at the beginning.  The width of your binding strips is a personal preference.  I usually like a narrow binding so I cut my strips 2 1/4".  Some quilters prefer 2 1/2" or even 2 3/4".  There are several schools of thought on cutting straight of grain strips or bias strips.  I only cut bias strips if there are curved edges on my quilt, like scallops.  For square or rectangle quilts, I cut straight of grain strips.  Straight strips are easier to handle because they don't stretch and I think they wear better on the edges of quilts.  To figure out how many strips to cut, you will want to measure the total outer edge of the quilt.  So if your quilt is 50" x  60"  (like mine), you will need  220 " of binding plus about 24" extra.  That's a total for my quilt of  244".  This is also the method you would use to calculate how much fabric you will need for your binding.  Using your rotary cutter, cut the number of strips needed match your total.
Sew these strips together on the diagonal to make one long piece of binding.  To sew on the diagonal, just position your strips right sides together as pictured and draw a line from corner to corner.  Stitch on the line and clip away the excess 1/4" from your stitching.

Fold your long strip wrong sides together lengthwise and press.  Now you are ready to attach the binding.  I lay my quilt out flat and pin the end of the binding strip with raw edges even about halfway along one of the sides.  I then "walk" the binding around the entire quilt, keeping the raw edges even.  This is an important step because you want to make sure that the seams in your binding strip do not end up at a corner of the quilt.  Believe me, you do not want a bulky mess at the corner!  If you do end up with a seam at the corner, just reposition the beginning of the strip.

Measure off about a 10" tail and place a pin.

 Before you begin stitching, mark off  1/4" at each corner with a pin.

Start at the first pin (near the tail), back stitch and sew 1/4" (or 3/8" if you want a wider binding) up to the pin at the corner.  Back stitch at the pin.  Remove the quilt from your sewing machine and fold the binding strip back at a 45 degree angle as pictured below.

Finger press the crease and fold the binding strip back over itself  as pictured below.

Starting at the top edge and back stitching, sew up to the next corner pin and repeat as you did with the first corner.  Continue attaching the binding until you come within 10" of where you started.  Back stitch.  You should now have two tails measuring about 10" each.

Here is where the fun starts.  Fold the tails of binding back and mark a spot between the spots that you started sewing and stopped with a pin.
Lay one tail of your binding strip over the pin and mark a line from the pin that equals the width of your folded binding.  My binding strip is 1 1/8" so I measured from the pin 1 1/8".  

Repeat with the other tail.  Cut both tails on the lines that you made.
With right sides together, place the ends of the tails at right angles like you did when attaching the binding strips together.  Be sure that your strips are not twisted and stitch corner to corner as pictured by the line below.

Trim away the excess.
Lay the binding strip flat and stitch it down.

This technique works every time for me!  I have to credit Heirloom Creations for this great method. If you would like to see a video demonstration, click HERE.

Finally, fold the finding to the back side of the quilt and hand stitch it down.

Another project finished!  Next up.....A jelly roll tote bag!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Feed Sack Towel Pillow

Here I am, back with project #2 in my New Year's quest to complete some projects that have been hanging around for too long!

Last summer I bought this cute feed sack towel.

My goal was to make it into a pillow for the porch at our cottage (which happens to be on Lake Chautauqua).  I even pulled some fabric from my stash to use for the pillow.  That's where this project stalled.  So, today, even though I won't need it until next spring, I am finishing the pillow!

I decided to make the pillow 18" because that is the size pillow form that I had on hand.  I trimmed the towel to 14"x 14".  Because the towel fabric was so thin, I decided to interface it with  a thin,fusible craft batting.
I cut the borders 2 1/2"x 16" for the sides and 2 1/2"X 20" for the top and bottom.  I added the side strips and trimmed them even with the top and bottom of the towel square.  Then I added the top and bottom strips and trimmed them as well.

I don't like pointy corners on my pillows so I use the Dritz Home Pillow Corner Template.
I bought my template at JoAnn's but I have not seen them anywhere lately.  You can download and print your own template HERE.

I used a striped fabric for the piping and cut it on the bias so the stripe would be on the diagonal.

If you have never made piping, click HERE for no fail instructions.

 I sewed the piping to the right side of the pillow being sure to match the raw edges.

I like to put zippers in my pillow backs so there are no unsightly gaps.  I also cut my backing pieces slightly larger than they need to be and trim them later.  I cut the two pieces 18"x 14" and sewed the zipper along the 18" length of one piece and then repeated with the other piece.  If you need more help with inserting a zipper, click HERE.  

Finally, I opened the zipper partway and centered the pillow front on top of the back with right sides together.  I then pinned and stitched with a zipper foot, using the piping stitch line as a guide.  I like to stitch just a bit off the original stitching closer to the piping.  This way, the original stitching won't show when I turn the pillow right side out.  I also like to back stitch and go forward again over the zipper to reinforce it. 

Hurray!  Another project finished!

Close-up of piping.

Next project from the PTBF (Projects to be Finished) Basket?  Long overdue binding with tips for your best binding ever!


Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year, Old Projects-Time to Finish!

Happy New Year, Blog Friends!  Sorry that it has been so long since I've posted.  I was traveling in December and then I had an issue with my eye that kept me from sewing, but...enough excuses!  I'm back with some goals for the new year.  I am determined to tackle my PTBF (Projects to be Finished) basket.

I thought about just getting a larger basket but that really wouldn't make sense ....would it?

Anyway, I can't believe that I haven't finished some of these projects!  For example...last spring, I made a valence for my daughter's kitchen.  You can check it out HERE if you missed it.  We didn't want a seam in the valence so we bought enough fabric for the length.  This left us with a lot of leftover fabric so I cut out four place mats and found fabric in my stash for the backing.
 I pinned them right sides together and sewed around one place mat.
 Are you kidding me?!  Why didn't I finish these?  I am happy so say that today I finished.  It took a grand total of 45 minutes.

I had originally cut the mats 19"x 13 1/2" and cut the backing slightly larger.  I like to cut the backings larger in case there is a bit of shifting while sewing.  

I sewed a 1/4' seam all the way around the outside edge leaving a 5" opening for turning.  I rimmed away the excess backing fabric, clipped the corners, turned right side out and pressed.

 I did an edge stitch and then stitched 1/4" from the first row of stitching for a polished look.

1-2-3 Done!! Now I just need to find an envelope to mail them to her.....
Next project?  A feed sack towel pillow!